Westminster Bridge, here looking well on the way to completion. It was officially opened on the 29th of July, 1961, so I would guess that this photo was taken sometime during the winter before that, which would account for the coats people are wearing.
Whitby Hall is now a multi-purpose centre mainly used for arts development for young people but, when the first picture here was taken in the 1920s, it was still in private hands. It belonged to the Grace family, and the pub on the other side of Stanney Lane still bears their name.
The Urban District Council bought the hall from John Grace in 1931 and it was the administrative centre for Ellesmere Port, until the early 1990s, with the gardens being turned into a public park.
The first photo in this animation was probably taken in the late fifties, as the cattle arch on the right is in full use, and I can’t see any sign of work starting on the bridge. Baird’s is visible too (the building beyond the cattle arch, with the Capstan advert painted on the side), and that was demolished in preparation for building.
The second photo isn’t quite from the same angle, because that same bridge is in the way, but I hope the animation gives a flavour of how much has changed.
I’ve been struggling to get new photos of this church that match the older ones because, as you can see here, there are a lot of trees in the way. Walking around this church, it can seem like you’re out in the countryside. It doesn’t feel abandoned though. The church is in use again, and the graveyard is well tended, and the trees, generally a good thing anyway, help to muffle the noise from the nearby motorway. It would be churlish to complain that they get in the way of my camera!
My first records came from Fidling’s but, until I saw this old picture, I had completely forgotten about it. That was in the very early 1970s, long after the building of Westminster Bridge, so it seems that this part of town was still quite active, even after the newer shops were built on the “Co-op Fields”.
Another view of Christchurch, and the first picture is a bit earlier than the previous one I posted. In this one the hedge hasn’t yet grown, and you can see in the churchyard there are no graves, so I suspect that the photo was taken in the 1870s, not long after the church was built.